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Family Law

Home to Queensland’s only Family Law practice ranked first tier in the 2015 Leading Australian Family Law Firms, recognised by Doyles Family Law Guide

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With more than 40 years of experience, the HopgoodGanim team is one of Australia's largest and most highly regarded family law practices, led by partners who are experts in a full range of family law matters, both local and international. Whatever the situation, we are exceptional listeners and advise our clients with integrity, sensitivity and discretion. We will provide an honest and complete picture of your options and clearly explain the likely outcomes of your situation.

Our expertise in high-wealth and complex settlements is recognised throughout the country and around the world, with one of our partners holding the position of Parliamentarian of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. HopgoodGanim was ranked as a first tier Queensland family law firm in Doyle's Guide to the Legal Profession, 2012 – 2016 and as a first tier Australia-wide firm in 2015. The team was also named by Global Law Experts as the Pre-nuptial Agreements Law Firm of the Year in Australia in 2014, 2015 and 2016.  Most recently, HopgoodGanim were named Australian leaders in Family Law; announced as winners in the Corporate LiveWire Global Awards 2016.  

HopgoodGanim offers a one stop shop for our family law clients. In addition to our family law team, our professional corporate advisory, taxation, estate planning and commercial property teams are on hand to assist you with related matters including your will and estate planning, property transactions and corporate structuring.

Your First Meeting

Your initial meeting with our family law team will involve one of our family law partners and a solicitor or associate of the practice. During this meeting we will invite you to tell us as much as possible about your current situation and also provide you with a comprehensive overview of your options and the likely outcome of your situation.

We offer a fixed fee for all initial family law meetings and invite you to contact our office for further details and to arrange an appointment.

Areas of Expertise

  • Divorce and family law - including alternative dispute resolution, Family Court appeals and reviews, de facto relationships, domestic violence, international disputes, same sex relationships, separation and spousal maintenance
  • Property settlements - including advising high net wealth individuals and those with trusts, corporate entities and family businesses
  • Alternative conflict resolution in family law matters – including arbitration, mediation and collaborative law
  • Financial agreements - including structuring and planning prenuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements
  • Children’s issues - including adoption, child abuse, child support, grandparents’ rights and step-parents’ rights, interstate and international relocation, Hague Convention cases, parenting agreements, surrogacy and IVF

Our family law team has extensive experience negotiating agreements and settlements that deal with complex corporate structures and high-wealth portfolios with assets in excess of $100 million.

Our success has been evident across cases for clients in a variety of circumstances. Some examples include:

  • Randle & Randle: Advising the mother of a child with dual citizenship on separation and property settlement issues where international criminal and civil proceedings relating to a jointly owned business were also underway. We successfully advised the client in her application to have the child returned to reside with her on a final basis in the UAE (a non-Hague convention country) in the face of the father’s abduction of the child to Australia and his evidence that he had relocated to Australia and intended to live in Australia for the foreseeable future. While the proceedings were conducted under Australian law, orders were also made by the Family Court restraining the parties from pursuing further family law proceedings in the UAE, further protecting the child. We successfully obtained an order that the father pay a substantial portion of the costs our client incurred in the Australian proceedings, a rarity in parenting matters.
  • Barker v Barker: Acting for a client in a successful appeal after her husband failed to properly disclose his financial position and the details of a verbal offer of $2.3 million made for the purchase of a property previously valued at $1.65 million. The Court initially refused to set aside the consent orders the parties had entered into, but on appeal the Full Court ordered that they be set aside.
  • Eltham & York: Advising a respondent client who had brought the vast majority of a $6 million property pool into his marriage, where his wife asserted that she had substantially given up her own international finance career for the marriage. The husband’s hefty initial contributions, and assets acquired from his large income during the marriage, made up the bulk of the pool. The Court ordered that our client retain 80 percent of the property pool.
  • Blue & Blue: Acting for a client with complex corporate and trust structures in a property settlement involving substantial assets. Our client wished to have his loan application documentation containing a summary of legal advice he had received on the prospects of his case, as well as his business computer server containing commercially sensitive information, protected from disclosure to his wife. We successfully argued against disclosure of the loan documentation and business server, as the wife had previously been provided sufficient financial information.
  • SL & EHL: Representing a client in a case involving a property pool of $12 million, following a 35 year marriage. Our client’s husband, who earned around $600,000 - 800,000 per annum, argued that the bulk of the wealth had resulted from his acumen, skill and determination, and that he should be rewarded with 70 percent of the property. We successfully argued that our client’s role as a home maker and parent was a fulsome contribution to the family of four children, and that the husband’s limited role in family life should result in the wife receiving 52 percent of the net property pool, despite the husband’s assertions that he had made ‘special’ contributions to the pool.
  • BP & KS: Advising a client who, against our strong advice at a time when his businesses were ailing, had made a maintenance agreement under which his wife was to receive almost $1 million worth of property. After he suffered a stroke and his businesses entered into administration, his wife made an application to have all the shares in a trustee company transferred to her, with the aim of taking the assets of the trust to satisfy her entitlement under the maintenance agreement. We successfully argued that this would be unlawful, as the wife sought to be a trustee solely to amend the trust to obtain its assets for herself. This was contrary to the potential interests of other beneficiaries, would predetermine the exercise of a trustee’s discretion and would be contrary to the law as it relates to discretionary trusts.
  • Amerasinghe: Advising on proceedings where both parties, originally from Sri Lanka, had divided their time equally between Australia and Sri Lanka as business migrants for the previous three years. The husband commenced proceedings in Sri Lanka shortly before our client, his wife, commenced proceedings in Australia. We successfully argued that the husband had walked away from the Australian proceedings, that the matters were correctly heard and determined in Australia, and that the husband should pay the wife’s costs. The husband’s application for the matter to be heard in Sri Lanka was unsuccessful.
  • Weir: Acting in an appeal from a trial Judge’s decision to not take into account a substantial amount of money that our client’s husband had misappropriated from the family business, and to not make a costs order in favour of our client, despite evidence that $153,605 had not been accounted for and that the husband had ‘pocketed’ a substantial quantity of cash sales and had falsified the accounts to mask the discrepancies. On appeal, we successfully argued that once deliberate non-disclosure has been established, the Court should not be unduly cautious in making findings in favour of the innocent party. We also argued that the Court was entitled to make a property order on its best estimate of the amount that had been misappropriated by the husband. As a result, the wife received an adjustment to account for the misappropriated money, as well as a costs order against the husband for deliberately failing to fully disclose his finances.

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